Tag Archives: Flatland


If you watch the big bang theory (which you totally should) chances are you vaguely remember Sheldon Cooper talking about something called Flatland. Flatland is an satirical novel about Victorian culture with some nice mathematical concepts thrown in which are very well explained, it was written in 1884 by Edwin Abbott Abbott. In my post about Tachyons I talked a lot about string theory, 0 and 1 dimensional objects and more than 3 dimensions, this idea about different dimensional objects is one of the mathematical concepts that is very well explained in Flatland, but If you don’t want to read the novel I will explain it here. If the dot I just used to end the last sentence would have been infinitely small (truly in only one point) it would have been an 0 dimensional object also if _ the line I just used would have totally no width it would have been an 1 dimensional object, if you have a square that has totally no height it would be a 2 dimensional object, if the aforementioned square did have some height it would be a three dimensional object, at this point one would normally stop but mathematically there is no reason to stop at three dimensional objects, there could hypothetically be 4, 5 , 6 , etc dimensional objects sure it’s hard if not impossible for us to really understand what a higher dimensional object would look like, but mathematically we can calculate properties of such higher dimensional objects for example a line has an length L, a square has an Area L2 a cube has an volume L3, if you imagine a 4 dimensional “cube” you could imagine that it would have a property with value L4. If you want to read a little slower more story driven explanation of these concepts read flatland it’s so old that the copyright on it has elapsed but it is still good here are some links